Place of warmth

View from Mtatsminda, თბილისი

It was 4 am when the lights of თბილისი appeared at the windows of the plane taking me to Georgia. A driver picked me up and drove me through the capital city that was still completely asleep. I dropped my bag at the hotel and sat in front in the dark, surrounded by stray dogs. A quick look at the watch: 5 pm, time for a coffee from one of the 24/7 shops and a walk through the empty streets to enjoy sunrise over the Mtkwari river.

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Turtle lake

Turtle lake cable car, თბილისი

One of the recreation areas of თბილისი is the turtle lake, named because of the amount of turtles found there. It is located at a height of 686 meters above the city quarter Vake of თბილისი. The turtle lake is an artificial lake created from a small mountain river called Varazis-Khevi. It has a maximum depth of 2.6 meters and you can swim in it – but most people come here just for taking a walk around or having a coffee at its shore.

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Night view from Mtatsminda, თბილისი

The highest mountain of თბილისი is easy to spot: on top of the holy mountain (Mtatsminda) the TV tower with its special shape is located and it is illuminated at night. The 750 meters high mountain is holy because Davit came to Georgia in the 6th century CE to teach Christianity to the Georgians. He was living in a cave within the Mtatsminda and often went to the city to preach. Later the inhabitants turned against him and went to the David Gareji monastery until the end of his life.

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Sulphur baths

Gulos thermal spa, თბილისი

The legend says that თბილისი was founded exactly at its current location because of hot springs that existed in different places throughout the city. The water coming from these springs contains sulphur and iron and is therefore a bit smelly, but it is also said to be healthy. I cannot prove that, but at least it is relaxing to hang out in hot water. 😉 The hot springs of თბილისი are typically between 24 and 45 degrees Celsius warm and today you’ll find the spas using them only in one place: the spa quarter underneath the Nariqala fortress next to the old city center.

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Inside the gorge

Botanical garden, თბილისი

The botanical garden of თბილისი is vast in size but unlike typical botanical gardens in western Europe packed with flowers and trees. It is more like a large park with different smaller sections of flowers, a Japanese garden, a waterfall and endless rows of cypress trees. What makes it so special is the location: it can be found within a gorge behind the mountain on which Kartlis deda monument and the Nariqala fortress are standing.

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